noun \ˈki-li-ˌfish\

Definition of KILLIFISH

:  any of a family (Cyprinodontidae) of numerous small oviparous fishes much used as bait and in mosquito control
:  any of various live-bearers (family Poeciliidae)


killie killifish (perhaps from 3kill) + fish
First Known Use: 1836


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Killifish (Fundulus chrysotus)—Gene Wolfsheimer

Any of a few hundred species of egg-laying topminnows (see guppy) in the family Cyprinodontidae. They are found worldwide in brackish, salt, and fresh water, including desert hot springs. Some species grow to 6 in. (15 cm) long. Killifish eat plant or animal material at the water's surface. Many species (e.g., the lyretail) are attractively coloured and are kept in home aquariums. Killifish are also valuable as bait and for mosquito control. Pupfish (Cyprinodon) inhabit California coasts and certain salt-lake shores in the western U.S. Some pupfish are listed as endangered; the Tecopa pupfish (C. nevadensis; 0.6 in. [1.5 cm] long) was declared extinct in 1981.


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